May 2, 2018 / 12:36 PM / a year ago

UK's House of Fraser to close stores, secures C.banner investment

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s House of Fraser said it would close some of its stores as a condition of securing new funds from international retailer C.banner (1028.HK), which will become the majority owner of the department stores group with a 51 percent stake.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a House of Fraser store in central London, Britain January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

Existing shareholder Nanjing Cenbest, part of the Sanpower Group, will remain a minority shareholder, the retailer said on Wednesday.

C.banner, a major retailer of mid-range to premium footwear brands in China, bought famous London toy shop Hamleys in 2015.

House of Fraser said it would launch a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) next month to allow it to restructure its stores portfolio.

Chairman Frank Slevin said C.banner acquiring 51 percent of the group, together with the new capital and restructuring, was a step to securing House of Fraser’s long-term future.

He said the company needed to adapt to rapidly changing shopping behavior, including the growth of online.

“House of Fraser’s future will depend on creating the right portfolio of stores that are the right size and in the right location,” he said.

“We also know that if we are to deliver a sustainable, long-term business then we need to make difficult decisions about our underperforming legacy stores.”

The company, which was founded in 1849, has stores in 59 locations across Britain and Ireland, including a flagship shop on London’s Oxford Street.

CVA’s have been used to restructure a number of retailers in recent years, including fashion brand New Look and floor coverings store Carpetright.

Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by James Davey and Louise Heavens

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